Not unlike many of Barack Obama’s other policy proposals, the idea of cap-and-trade legislation meant to financially penalize producers for carbon emissions failed to gain traction through the legislative process. Also in keeping with his modus operandi, though, he is not giving up on the plan.
According to recent reports, Obama is likely to use his preferred method of fiat rule to implement the costly policy ostensibly designed to reduce climate change. He is expected to convince the Environmental Protection Agency, which is set to release updated power plant regulations within the next few weeks, to include cap-and-trade in its proposal.
New federal rules, reports indicate, will force existing power plants to abide by an emissions limit while allowing companies to trade offsets for higher emissions in much the same way the Obama administration recommended.
A number of states have already entered cap-and-trade agreements on their own accord; however, the EPA’s new guidelines would mandate a more uniform approach to the often criticized program. Projections reveal the agency will force states to shave one-quarter of their current power plant carbon emissions within the next few decades.
Not only will the new rules cause added burdens for those operating the plants; experts conclude energy prices will skyrocket upon their implementation.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce predicts a significant economic impact.
“We anticipate it to be unprecedented in complexity and cost,” Chamber official Dan Byers said in a recent speech.
Those in the coal industry have long opposed such regulations; and according to National Mining Association President Hal Quinn, the repercussions will be severe and widespread.
“The impact will not only be to greatly increase electricity rates, putting U.S. manufacturing at a competitive disadvantage,” he said; these rules will also “jeopardize reliability of the nation’s electric grid.”
Perhaps signaling his support of the plan, Obama is scheduled to reveal the new restrictions when they are announced.
Clean Air Watch Director Frank O’Donnell declared the impending move a victory of this administration.
“This is a magic moment for the president,” he said, calling it “a chance to write his name into the record books.”
He concluded, however, that “history will ultimately judge this less by an excellent speech than by the final contents and outcome of this initiative.”
Photo Credit: Wknight94 (Creative Commons)
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom